How does the typical university student look?

In 1970, we’d have said 'young and male'.

But it’s 2018, and the student demographic is very different. For one, there are more women enrolled in tertiary courses than men. For another, 41% of students are classified as 'mature age'.

Universities failing parents

It’s not clear how many Aussie university students are parents. But what is clear, is that Australian universities don’t seem to know how to accommodate studying mums and dads.

Writing for the ABC, Claire Lehman pointed out anecdotal evidence suggesting that student-parents’ tertiary experiences are not always fair.

From being told they shouldn’t be in a course if they can’t meet deadlines, to being made to produce medical certificates detailing infant care requirements – student-parents often feel the sting of discrimination.  

VU addresses study-family balance

The thing is there’s simply no such thing as a ‘typical’ student anymore. So shouldn’t universities focus on designing less typical courses in order to cater for the changing student demographic?

Many academics think so, with a recent call for universities to start offering up more flexibility in their courses.

We’re excited to say that VU has answered the call with the groundbreaking new ‘Kids in Class’ program set to launch in semester 1, 2018 as part of selected units within the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master of Digital Media.

How does ‘Kids in Class’ work?

Exactly the way it sounds!

With Kids in Class, parents are welcome to bring their children to class for one part of the semester and then complete the other part of their studies online.

Basically, two tutorials will run for each subject. Each will deliver the same content – but in very different ways. One will be a regular class, while the other will be kid-friendly (and noisy!).

In the kid-friendly classes, part of the room will be set up for kids to play by themselves, with a separate space for older children to read or complete homework. Parents are welcome to interact with, or be joined by, their children at any time throughout the class.

During the kid-friendly sessions, parents will be shown how to use the VU Webex system so that they may participate ‘virtually’ in regular tutorials in future. Of course, all students are welcome to attend regular tutorials in person, if they prefer.

The way we see it, there are so many advantages of Kids in Class for studying parents:

  • saving on childcare costs
  • alleviating pressure on babysitters
  • more time spent with kids
  • networking opportunities with other parents returning to study/work
  • demystifying university for children.

VU is committed to ensuring parents feel supported and welcome throughout their tertiary studies, and beyond.


Writer: Marina Kalcina

Kid-friendly classes have space for children to play

Contact VU

To register your interest in the program please email or call Natasha Dwyer:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +61 3 9919 4754

Find out more about the support services and flexible study options available for mature-age students at VU.